Cameroon Borrows Another $30M To Finance Fight Against COVID-19

The Cameroon government has signed a new loan accord with the Development Bank of Central African States popularly known by its French abbreviation BDEAC.

The signature of the accord follows a decree signed December 4, 2020, by Cameroon head of state President Paul Biya, authorizing the Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Alamine Ousmane Mey, to proceed with the signing of the loan agreement.

According to the presidential statement, the money would be used for the partial financing of the plan for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic put in place and being implemented by the Cameroon government since March 2020 when the first cases of the COVI-19 were detected in the country.

It should be recalled that in April this year, the Development Bank of Central African States announced that it was putting at the disposal of the six countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Commission popularly known by its French acronym CEMAC, an envelope of three billion FCFA (about US$6 million) within the context of the fight against the COVI-19 pandemic.

“This direct support”, the Development Bank of Central African States notes in an official communiqué, is intended “to support the CEMAC countries in the putting in place of their programmes against this pandemic, which principal objective is to contain the propagation of the virus and to preserve the health and wellbeing of the populations”.

Whatever the good intentions may be, the populations of the sub-region are becoming increasingly reticent towards the drumbeats about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since this thing started early this year, one cannot really put a finger on the total amount of money this government has borrowed or been given as grants towards the fight against the virus,” declared Obenatok George to HumAngle in Yaounde on Tuesday.

“We are told the money is being used to buy equipment and drugs as well as to take care of infected persons. 

“The problem here is that we have never been shown or never seen these patients on which the money is spent which makes most Cameroonians to start doubting whether this corona thing really exists.”

“When you see people defying the preventive measures put in place it is because they no longer believe in government propaganda about the virus. 

“They think government rhetoric about corona is a ploy for them to get foreign financing so that they embezzle it and leave the burden of repaying the money on our heads and those of our children,” added another citizen who opted for anonymity.

Perhaps the government should do more by way of transparency in the disbursement of the huge sums of money being borrowed and by way of convincing the population of the existence and devastating effects of the COVID-19, otherwise, the people would continue to despise the protective measures announced thus opening the way for a human catastrophe should the second wave which currently looms finally strikes.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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